It turns out that when you open the doors to a whole different set of values, and you drop the age of “criminality” – in other words, the age you can be charged as an adult – bad things proliferate.
Like warnings from gangs. Forget the horse head in bed or box of dead fish.
…Gangs often use bombings as a warning, and none of those in Skarpnack killed anyone. (The only bombing fatality in Sweden this year was a 25-year-old bystander.) But in early September a 13-year-old boy from one of the district’s richer and safer areas was found in a forest south of the city, shot in the head. Prosecutors have not released details, but say the murder was gang-related. Because the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 15, gangs are recruiting ever-younger teenagers as drug couriers and, occasionally, assassins.
It reminded me of an eight year old story from British reporter Katie Hopkins, whose piece for the Daily Mail back then was about an explosion of rapes in the Scandinavian paradise. And to this day, I think her point keeps being completely validated.
…I saw it in action when I ran to the scene of an unexploded hand grenade in a bin outside the police station of a no-go area of town, near a mosque. I asked the police who the target was.
They said they didn’t know. I asked the Muslim leader at the mosque. He said he thought it was the police.
Then two women grabbed me and told me not to make this about the mosque, not to make this a Muslim issue. This was about the police — nothing to do with migrants.
I wondered if they weren’t missing the point. A bomb in a bin.
Within twelve hours of my landing in Sweden, an asylum centre was burned down, arson suspected; a hand grenade was planted in a bin, either for the police or the mosque; and another hand grenade exploding, injuring one in Malmö.
It used to be a really nice place. It hasn’t gotten better.
‘Child soldiers’ and blood feuds: Sweden’s out-of-control gang wars
Execution-style shootings carried out by “child soldiers”, apartment buildings rocked by bombings, innocent relatives targeted in vendettas, and the morning news summarising the night’s death toll — all have become disturbingly routine in the normally quiet country.
“No other country in Europe is seeing anything like this,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson as he vowed to defeat the gangs.
“Swedish legislation was not designed for gang wars and child soldiers. But we’re changing that now,” he said.
Sweden’s gang wars have smouldered for a decade over control of the drugs market.
The “gangs” are recruiting ever younger, 2d gen immigrant kids because they know they can’t be jailed.
The newly elected government won control in large part due to Swedes’ exasperation with the state of affairs. The country, officials acknowledge, is way past due trying to take hold of the problem
On October 15th thousands of followers of 5iftyy, a Swedish rapper, tuned into his Instagram channel for what he said would be an important livestream. They found themselves watching a bearded man brandish a gold-plated ak-47 while hurling insults at rival gang members, backed by three rifle-toting thugs in balaclavas. The man with the golden gun was Mustafa “Benzema” Aljiburi, a leading member of a Swedish narcotics network known as Foxtrot. Mr Aljiburi is believed to be living in Iraq. He staged the appearance to dispel rumours of his death and to threaten various enemies, including a Swedish prosecutor.
The livestream looked ridiculous, but the threats were serious. For years Sweden has suffered from high rates of gang-related violence, but for the past two years it has been relentless. In the first ten months of the year there were 324 shootings in Sweden, 48 of them fatal. The rate of gun crime is several times higher than that in neighbouring countries. Gangs have taken to attacking the homes of rivals with hand grenades and dynamite; there have been 139 explosions this year. The government is frantically toughening laws and raising its law-enforcement budget, but it is behind the curve. “We should have seen this coming and taken these measures at least ten years ago,” says Daniel Bergstrom, an adviser to Sweden’s justice minister.
And, of course, they are running into a wall of opposition for beefing up enforcement and penalties. There is also a problem with tracking down the kingpins of the illicit enterprises that the young immigrants are foot soldiers for. Those guys are often in other countries.
…That may seem unlikely to bear fruit soon. But curtailing gang violence through law enforcement will be a tough slog too. Many of the criminal networks’ top figures are, like Mr Majid, not even in Sweden: in late October five people connected to Foxtrot, reportedly including 5iftyy, were arrested in Tunisia, and on October 31st another man reported to be a member of Foxtrot was killed in Sarajevo.
The prime minister has even been talking to the military for suggestions, which has shocked some people, but it sounds like he’s trying to get advice from every quarter.
Sweden’s prime minister on Thursday said that he’s summoned the head of the military to discuss how the armed forces can help police deal with an unprecedented crime wave that has shocked the country with almost daily shootings and bombings.
Getting the military involved in crime-fighting would be a highly unusual step for Sweden, underscoring the severity of the gang violence that has claimed a dozen lives across the country this month, including teenagers and innocent bystanders.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that he would meet with the armed forces’ supreme commander and the national police commissioner on Friday to explore “how the armed forces can help police in their work against the criminal gangs.”
They can’t get over their innate need to be polite even as the country burns down around their ears.
Not to mention Kristersson has to battle the immigration vs integration vs segregation conflicts roiling all of Europe. Whose country is it, have Swedes been willing to share it, and do Muslim immigrants want any part of sharing Swedish culture?
Or do they want their own? And where do you bend, or do you stop bending, period?
…Prime Minister Kristersson has blamed the rise in organised crime on “naivety” over immigration.
“An irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration led us here,” the conservative leader said.
But Cetin argued that the integration problem has a lot to do with the segregation immigrant communities face.
“How is it possible that young Swedes in one of the richest countries in the world have gotten to the point where they’re willing to kill, and kill their best friend to boot?” she asked.
“It says a lot about segregation, the conditions in which they grow up and the exclusion they experience.”
Kristersson’s government has already started reducing immigrant benefits, making it less accessible to enter and then stay. So they have been actively working on keeping promises made during the election last year. But that’s a Band-Aid.
The Swedish government plans to cut social benefits for non-European immigrants in the hope of discouraging migrants from coming to Sweden.
Sweden’s coalition government is set to introduce reforms requiring immigrants from countries outside the European Union to learn Swedish and compete for jobs in the country’s highly-skilled labor market.
While the details of the changes are still being worked out, the leaders of the three-party coalition and the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) have claimed that Sweden has “significant problems” with foreign-born people who are unemployed and live on benefits.
…Swedish center-right Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s minority government came to power just over a year ago with the support of the anti-immigration and populist Sweden Democrats, led by Jimmie Akesson. Since last September it has introduced a number of reforms aimed at reducing the number of migrants coming irregularly in Sweden and expelling rejected asylum seekers.
The changes include proposals to tighten the conditions for citizenship, using DNA analysis to identify migrant individuals, limiting grants of residence permits based on humanitarian grounds, imposing stricter conditions on family reunion visas, and removing the possibility to apply for a work visa following rejection of an asylum application.
The real work in going to be dealing with – and hopefully eradicating – the violent cultural differences you’ve already got binfuls of in the country.